How did I feel when I woke up this past Saturday morning? Well, in honesty, not much different than the day before. Saturday marked another year of life for me on this wonderfully spinny orb.
Turns out that I spun into life on March 16, 1974. Well actually, I’m certain that it was well before that. I just can’t remember it very well. It was dark, and warm, and all sorts of gurgles and burps were happening. I probably didn’t want to come out, but we all have to come out, don’t we?
Perhaps it is better to say I emerged, kicking and screaming on March 16, 1974. A grand affair I’m sure for all involved.
A first for my parents. A first for me.
39 years have come and gone since.
Mortality. Superb mortality. Just hanging around for a little while. A tease. Why? Isn’t it relative really? Who can say?
When you reach 39 years of age, people look at you as if fragility is your new platform. You are suddenly on the decline. The cusp of dust.
Those that came before, look at you with haughtiness, knowing full well that they have visited that time, that spot on the continuum themselves. They lament their short stop there, and rail against passing further along towards oblivion.
They give the faux gallows humor, and schnucker a forced smile. They say something supposedly commiserate with what they believe you might feel, “It sucks getting old!” (As the elbow gets pushed into your side, or a petrified palm slaps the hollow of your back).
This experience is only to be exceeded by the looks of pity you might catch from those that are now where you used to be on the continuum yourself. There seems a perception of agedness, my agedness, held by those kids. Yes kids. Time has been slow for them, because their focus, as it should be, is not on mortality. At least in any real sense. Their focus is on denying the egg timer in their periphery. They only steal an occasional glance at the upper portion of it, and only from the reflection of a mirror, as we all know that if you look at an egg timer directly, you turn to stone. These kids possess a sense of entitlement and wonderment at the fact that there appears to be so many beads left up there. They feel assured that it will continue to flow, and swirl, and spin indefinitely. Old age seems like a distant place, way off on the horizon. Time is plenty. Plenty of time.
How did I feel turning 39? How do I feel?
I feel relieved that I will not focus too much on the impermanence, that in spite of this reflective account, I will take the egg timer down and smash it on the floor.
Because my business is not about what has gone, or what is left, but rather what IS right now.
I value that I had a youth to spend against the terrors and pratfalls of living life, and came out with perspective. I realize that there is an equal amount of good and bad, and that equilibrium often comes without action or frustration; actually it comes in spite of the exercise of either. I value a hope that a today will lead to a tomorrow, and that I can guide the gifts of my life into a focused love of being here right now, in this moment.
I have no delusions. The continuum is finite for each of us.
I embrace it.
All of it.
Life is to be lived. That is the secret. There are no regrets within solid reflection, if you know full well that you have given yourself over to experiencing the mystery of confusion, and joy, and terror, and sadness, and happiness.
Life. The great dizzying spin, that starts as one emerges from, or as one marinates in utero.
I thank my parents, my family, and my friends. All the people that have cared for me, and helped me to develop into this NOW, this WHO, this ME.
39 years is Jack Bennian. But when I turn 40 next year, I will say I’m 40.
No bullshiting you or myself with the ol’ “39 is the new 29”.
I am happy to be here on this spot, at this age. Spinning.
I watch my son on occasion when he spins in a circle for no other reason, for the sake of it I suppose. Just because. Because it might feel good or fun to him. He always careens a bit to the left or right after he comes out of a series of spins. Sometimes he falls, sometimes he might bump into the wall, or sometimes he rights himself and nothing happens. But what I love most about him in these moments, is that he smiles and goes with it. No matter what. I hope he never loses that as he spins through this life. I am grateful that he taught me to remember to smile as I do so.